'Ghost' Locks on Data

01-02-2013 06:36 AM
Status: Open
Labels (1)
New Contributor III

Once a feature has been removed from the ToC, all locks on that data should be removed as close to instant as possible.

This problem plagues those who use Excel spreadsheets in ArcGIS Desktop especially.

You've added your spreadsheet into ArcGIS Deskstop ready to map x and y, you then spot a problem and need to make a change to the spreadsheet.  Currently you must remove the spreadsheet and close down the .mxd that the spreadsheet was added to or you'll find your data is locked. 
This can also happen to Shapefiles and/or Feature classes.

Removing the burden on the user to sort these locks out would simplify, quicken, and overall improve his/her experience.

I know this is a long standing issue, so apologies if this is a duplicate idea but could not find a similar one.  

Best Regards

Peter Kohler

p.s. imo, The line "Its Microsoft’s fault" doesn't cut it anymore as it doesn't mean anything to your novice GIS user - they just wont use it again. 

I agree, all locks must be released even on sde geodatabase.

I have to restart my ArcGIS 10.0 about 10 times a day because these locks. Connect to a sde geodatabas and disconnect, that connection will not be disconnected (Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2).
I agree also, but, so has pretty much everyone since the inception of ArcMap8.x.

They haven't seemed to care about it enough to fix the issue, so, good luck.

(Not to mention the "hidden" locks it puts on data that hasn't even been loaded in the map document for dozens of open/close events)
I agree, this is a pain, but there is a workaround that doesn't involve restarting ArcMap. After removing the layer from the TOC, collapse the folder in the Catalog. Right click on the collapsed folder and select Refresh. This usually releases the locks on the files in that folder. Give it a try, hope it helps some. I've verified this works in 10.0 and would assume it works in 10.1 as well. Not sure about older versions. 
I think it should be an option where you can rightclick on a excel, shp, database etc. and choose do disconnect. And you should also be able to see in ArcCatalog which files the current mxd have locks on.
Thanks for the tip Scottball, I'll give it a try!
There is a similar problem in ArcCatalog when you preview a featureclass and it creates a lock until you close ArcCatalog.  Surely the moment you quit looking at the featreclass the lock is unnecessary.
@scottball, thanks for posting a workaround.  I haven't tried it yet but will.  That being said, human automation is a sign of poor software development.  ArcGIS Desktop should be much more intelligent with its handling of locks.

This still seems to be an issue (I'm on 10.6) and the workaround that @ScottBall suggested doesn't do the trick.  I recently changed jobs and at my old job as long as I didn't have the .xls selected after removing it from the TOC and single clicked on another folder or file the lock was broken and I was able to open the file in excel without having to close ArcMap.  At my new job, I am having this issue.  Both places running windows 10 and Arc 10.6.  Is there some kind of configuration/setting somewhere that I am missing??